1. Charisma
    Offline

    Charisma Transposon Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    2,704
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    Lahore, Pakistan

    Which accent is this?!

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Charisma, Dec 29, 2014.

    This seems to be the best place to post this query. I do have a lot of those as of late, it seems.

    Anyhow. In my novel there are quite a few cross-cultural characters, so you have a Caucasian talking to an American-born Pakistani talking to an immigrant (for now, let's assume a Pakistani immigrant). While I haven't really made an effort to differentiate each and every person's accent from one another, I leave it to the reader to assume that if someone is American-born, they'll sound like someone from America (I know that are a bajillion accents in America in itself, but so to speak, that's the narrowest we go for now). I also hope they might've heard an immigrant well-versed in spoken English, they tend to happy a typical accent (usually, not always).

    But here one of the centric characters, an immigrant, has a very unique accent. To me, a non-native speaker, it sounds British (again, probably too broad a distinction), but obviously it's likely more complex than that. I didn't know she would have such an accent until just now--ah, the writing process. Anyway, I know that most immigrants don't sound like that, and while I may have an explanation as to why she took it up, how do I convey the accent to the reader? I don't know myself which accent this is--it's just not natural, is'all. Any ideas?

    PS: interested parties may listen to a sample here (removed), if it's relevant. I've tried to do her accent and an American accent. Please forgive any inaccuracies for the latter, since it's not my natural accent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  2. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,881
    Likes Received:
    10,062
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    That's a double filtered accent, to my American ear. But my ear is also a trained ear. I'm an interpreter by trade. To an ear from the U.K. that might sound like only one accent taking place. As an American I hear a person of some flavor of Middle Eastern (perhaps even Indian) descent who learned English in a British teaching environment. Many of my instructors at the DLIFLC had a similar dual accent, but in that case it was Russian filtered through a rather homogenized, mostly RP, British accent.
     
    Charisma likes this.
  3. qp83
    Offline

    qp83 Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    17
    From my little experience, foreign people tend to sound more 'broadly' like americans when they speak english. To me, british english sounds a bit silly(no offense :p), and as if they make a conscious choice to sound that way, while american english sounds more natural. Now, of course, there's probably some influence coming from growing up watching mostly hollywood films, and not so much brittish films.

    So, imo, having listened to the audiofile, I would've guessed your character moved to england and learned most of her english there.
     
  4. Charisma
    Offline

    Charisma Transposon Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    2,704
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    Lahore, Pakistan
    Wow, that's surprisingly specific! If I may ask, to someone from the UK, that sounds like British or not (since you said a single accent, but not really which one)? Also, if I wanted to describe it, could I say, for instance, "it almost sounded British, the kind you hear on television, but with just enough errors to remind me she's South Asian." She's a centric character, and her accent is a part of who she is, so yeah. Thanks :D

    I can't say, really, many people I know here say I sound like I've been raised in the US, but we don't have a trained ear for American accent, so I don't think they're certifiable. But I do not sound like the stereotypical Indian accent everyone prescribes to us on the media, since I've watched way too many English television and one of my first friends grew up in America. I like the British accent too, though; my friend and I do it sometimes and fool others into believing we were raised in the UK :D

    And thanks for the input :)
     
  5. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,881
    Likes Received:
    10,062
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    The British accent I hear filtering through the Middle Eastern accent is an Estuary accent, but a true Brit might hear something rather different. Estuary is commonly heared in U.K. television shows because it's an an accent broadly used in London and lots of U.K. shows take place in London. Non-native speakers of English are usually exposed to teachers who have a "neutral accent", of which America has one and the U.K. has its own. In America it's called "flat midwestern" and, unless the term has aged too much, in the U.K. it's often referred to as "BBC English". As to the Middle Eastern side of the person's accent, I'm not versed enough in the differing accents from that side of the world other than to note the lilt and swing that speaks of that region.
     
  6. Charisma
    Offline

    Charisma Transposon Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    2,704
    Likes Received:
    142
    Location:
    Lahore, Pakistan
    Thanks again, that was quite informative :) (PS: just noted you are an Avatar fan! :D)
     

Share This Page